A comparative study of the development of competition/antitrust laws with regard to the treatment of dominant firms

Authors Phumudzo S Munyai

ISSN: 2522-3062
Affiliations: Associate professor, College of Law, University of South Africa
Source: Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa, The, Volume 50 Issue 2, p. 196 – 213


The majority of the decisions by competition authorities and by the courts, as well as academic commentary in modern competition law have embraced an interpretation and enforcement approach to competition rules that appears generally tolerant and welcoming towards firms that are dominant in markets. This is encapsulated by the oft-quoted mantras in modern competition-law enforcement that the mere acquisition of dominance is not unlawful and that no firm should be punished for the mere reason of its dominance, as it is only the abuse of a dominant market status that is prohibited. However, historically, antitrust enforcers and commentators have not exactly rolled out the red carpet for dominant firms. A study of the historical development of competition law overwhelmingly shows that the origin and development of competition law has its roots in the widespread hostility that existed towards dominant firms. This hostility towards dominant firms can, in some cases, still be seen in modern competition law.